In tennis, as well as in all aspects of life, it is imperative to gain that “edge” over your opponent. Whether it is on the courts of Wimbledon or behind your desk at work, it is crucial to find that advantage that puts you one step ahead of the pack. Finding that extra motivation is not easy, but we all have it, it just depends on how we use the cards that are dealt us.
So how do we gain that “winning edge?” What do the great ones do that others fail to do that puts them above the rest? First of all, it all begins with your mentality. Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said that “baseball is 90 percent mental.” This adage can be applied to all aspects of life as well. It is imperative to approach everything with the mindset that you are better than your opponent and while there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence we should always error on the former. Approaching a situation with the mindset that you are better gives you the expectation of success, and expecting success instead of “hoping” for success makes it much more difficult for us to accept defeat.
Also, in contrast to the previous statement, it is ok, even necessary to accept defeat. Nobody wins a tennis match without losing some sets and games within. Focus on the war, but also accept the fact that you are going to lose some battles within that war. You can think of the best competitors around and they’ve all had losses that they had to deal with in their paths to success, the key is being able to factor in your losses as a building block in your road to success. Roger Federer is an excellent example of such a predicament. It was Federer who reeled off five consecutive titles at Wimbledon between 2003 and 2007 but Federer was recently humbled in his defeat at Wimbledon this year at the hands of Novak Djokovic. Yet with his defeat, Federer showed why he has been on top so many times exclaiming afterwards: “I thought he played great. I didn’t play bad myself. That’s how it goes. I am still very hungry and motivated to keep playing.” Federer realizes that there are bumps in the road but that those bumps should only feed as further drive to future accomplishments.
Your edge is part of your mental preparation and pregame before a match. Don’t take yourself out of the game before it begins, go into attack mode and always know that wherever you go, whatever you do, you are the best out there.